O'Reilly falsely claimed Cynthia Tucker wrote "Mike Huckabee is unfit to be even vice president because of his faith in God"

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

Bill O'Reilly falsely asserted on his Fox News show that Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker -- whom he called "an antireligionist and a far-left zealot" -- wrote that former Gov. Mike Huckabee "is unfit to hold any national office because of his belief in God." In fact, Tucker did not cite "his faith in God" as the reason Huckabee "shouldn't be on any ticket"; she specifically noted his support for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage and quoted Huckabee on what he said was the need "to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards."

During the February 18 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly attacked Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker as an "antireligionist" and a "far-left zealot" over her February 17 column headlined "VP Huckabee is a sincerely scary prospect." O'Reilly stated: "In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, far-left zealot Cynthia Tucker, the editorial director there, says Mike Huckabee is unfit to be even vice president because of his faith in God." Later in the broadcast, while interviewing Nancy Pfotenhauer, senior advisor for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, O'Reilly claimed: "Cynthia Tucker, our old pal in Atlanta, who is an antireligionist and a far-left zealot, says that Huckabee, who interestingly enough governed Arkansas for two terms in a secular manner, is unfit to hold any national office because of his belief in God." In fact, at no point did Tucker claim that Huckabee is unfit for the vice presidential office "because of his faith in God," as O'Reilly falsely asserted.

Rather, Tucker specifically noted Huckabee's support for constitutional amendments banning abortion and same-sex marriage, criticizing Huckabee's stated desire, in Huckabee's words, "to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards, rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family." She stated that Huckabee "shouldn't be on any ticket" and later wrote, "The last thing we need is another president or vice president who believes he can intrepret [sic] God's standards." She concluded: "As for Huckabee, he'd make a fine addition to the roster of high-profile theocrats currently on the political scene -- James Dobson, Gary Bauer and Pat Robertson, to name a few."

Additionally, during the February 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, O'Reilly called Tucker a "far-left loon" and asserted: "Now, we have tracked Ms. Tucker for years, and she is as irresponsible and as dedicated a leftist -- and I would say I'd put her in the socialist category. She is off the chart." After reading from Tucker's column, O'Reilly stated: "So Tucker, consistently anti-religion, thinks religion is a bad thing, and this is who's in charge of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the largest paper in the southern part of the United States."

O'Reilly has repeatedly attacked Tucker and the Journal-Constitution, including in his book, Culture Warrior (Broadway Books, 2006). In a December 2, 2007, column (accessed via the Nexis database), Tucker referenced O'Reilly's controversial comments about his trip to Sylvia's, a Harlem restaurant: "A recent poll has found that 61 percent of black Americans believe that the values of poor blacks have become 'more different' from the values of middle-class blacks in recent years. With the possible exception of Bill O'Reilly -- who professed astonishment at the good manners of black patrons at a Harlem restaurant


no one should be surprised at those findings." O'Reilly responded on the December 3, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor by calling Tucker "flat-out dishonest":

O'REILLY: Last week alone, Cynthia Tucker, head of editorials for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Maureen Dowd, a columnist for The New York Times, and Lauren Rikleen, a columnist in "The Boston Globe", all completely distorted my position on racism using almost identical language. What a coincidence.

Now, these women couldn't care less about the truth. They're flat-out dishonest; in business solely to advance an agenda. And business is good. There are few journalistic standards left these days, as we have proven on this broadcast again and again. "Talking Points" wishes the dangerous media dishonesty on display would get half the attention Mr. [Don] Imus is getting.

O'Reilly has also included Tucker in a list of liberal columnists who he said label people with whom they disagree "bigots."

From the February 18 Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: "Impact" segment tonight, as predicted, it didn't take long for the press to begin attacking John McCain. The Associated Press, which bills itself as an objective news wire service, has filed an article on McCain's terrible temper, pretty much implying the man's out of control.

In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, far-left zealot Cynthia Tucker, the editorial director there, says Mike Huckabee is unfit to be even vice president because of his faith in God.

[...]

O'REILLY: Let's take the second one. Cynthia Tucker, our old pal in Atlanta, who is an antireligionist and a far-left zealot, says that Huckabee, who interestingly enough governed Arkansas for two terms in a secular manner, is unfit to hold any national office because of his belief in God. And you say?

PFOTENHAUER: I say that's a bizarre conclusion. Of all the things that would make someone unfit to hold office, faith and having faith isn't anywhere near the top. It's not even in the top 1,000. In fact, I would be comforted by the idea that someone, of all the things that could influence them when they go into their job, that faith would be one of them. And that would be --

O'REILLY: But Tucker says he's a theocrat. That means he wants to impose his belief on you and I and everybody else -- you and me and everybody else.

PFOTENHAUER: Well, you know, I believe that it -- that the story itself was legitimate to write because it -- because Mike Huckabee didn't just talk about his faith; he linked his faith to specific actions that he would take while, you know, while governing. And so I think a discussion of that is OK. I just -- I just believe her conclusions were bizarre and out of step with the American people.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, I believe that's true. She's pretty out of step.

From the February 18 edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:

O'REILLY: All right, now, when you get into the local papers, it doesn't come any worse than The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for those of you down in Atlanta. Cynthia Tucker, who runs their editorial page, is a far-left loon -- the woman is off-the-chart left. And she writes a hit piece on Huckabee saying that, "VP Huckabee is a sincerely scary prospect. He's even scarier than Dick Cheney." This is Cynthia Tucker. Now, we have tracked Ms. Tucker for years, and she is as irresponsible and as dedicated a leftist -- and I would say I'd put her in the socialist category. She is off the chart.

And she says, quote, "But Huckabee has no business being a heartbeat away from the presidency, especially if McCain is the president. If the Arizona [sic: senator] were to win the White House on November 4, he would be the oldest person to be inaugurated for a first term." There you go. We want to get that in, OK. "I'm sure Huckabee would make a fine addition to a high-profile theocratic roster -- James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson, to name a few." So he's a theocrat. So Tucker, consistently anti-religion, thinks religion is a bad thing, and this is who's in charge of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the largest paper in the southern part of the United States.

From the December 3, 2007, edition of The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Last week alone, Cynthia Tucker, head of editorials for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Maureen Dowd, a columnist for The New York Times; and Lauren Rikleen, a columnist in The Boston Globe, all completely distorted my position on racism, using almost identical language. What a coincidence.

Now, these women couldn't care less about the truth. They're flat-out dishonest; in business solely to advance an agenda. And business is good. There are few journalistic standards left these days, as we have proven on this broadcast again and again. "Talking Points" wishes the dangerous media dishonesty on display would get half the attention Mr. [Don] Imus is getting.

I fully realize that most Americans could not care less about what the media says and does. And the public is not fazed by what is printed on evil.com or "The Daily Deceiver." But it should be. We in the media are very powerful. We can ruin lives and damage the country in ways that affect every American. We, the people, need to wise up. In the big picture, Imus is just an entertainer, a guy talking on the radio.

But the corrupt press is far, far different story. It wants to drastically alter this country and will destroy or try to destroy anyone who stands in its way. The upcoming presidential race will clearly demonstrate what I am telling you right now. Pay attention. And that's the Memo.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, Westwood One
Person
Bill O'Reilly
Show/Publication
The Radio Factor, The O'Reilly Factor
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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